Off Topic

The Great Lack of Modern Science in Science Fiction.

(image from one of my favorite sci-fi games)

There have been made materials effectively invisible to photons (light) of certain frequencies. Metamaterial cloaking is the term. It is not unreasonable to expect that in time, a civilization can make materials that are invisible to a wide range of frequencies of light, for example all the visible light spectrum. Can you imagine what story elements it opens up if cloaked invisible items are cloaked by default when built? But instead even sci-fi published tomorrow and I bet ten years from now, still maintains the premise that cloaking of any sort is done with a “field” of some sort, and that if you stop putting energy or effort into that field, then the object reverts back to its default visible state. It may be a natural assumption to make, because objects are generally visible as their default state, but sci-fi writers should keep up with cutting edge science. Or else they can no longer call their work “science fiction”, it will just be fiction. Or maybe we need to invent a new genre, some designation which means; “this would be science fiction if written long ago”.

Another thing; Aging is comprised of seven biological processes, which are the causes of the diseases old people get (cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, arthritis, diabetes, wrinkles, etc). There’s a huge field devoted to intervening in these processes, called rejuvenation biotechnology. These scientists expect (not hope) that the first person to live to a thousand years of age (looking 25), is already alive today. Simply because if you successfully give one set of rejuvenation treatments, you buy decades to improve on these treatments. After all, they are rejuvenating the patient to a younger state, not just slowing aging a bit. So if you’re 60 and are just rejuvenated by 1/6th, then you presumably still have some 30 odd years for us to improve on the treatment. Once we can rejuvenate you 30 years every 30 years, you have reached “longevity escape velocity” (LEV), since you can presumably remain young indefinitely then.

You may argue all day about when a civilization’s technological development reaches LEV, but a civilization is going to reach LEV long before they become an interstellar civilization. All civilizations with type 1 kardashev scale status, will have reached LEV. There may be population within that civilization that for whatever reason chooses to not take rejuvenation treatments and die from cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia and so forth, but the ones you meet out there among the stars, will mostly have LEV. To not have LEV in the civilization you write about in your science fiction work, must be explained thoroughly. Maybe the civilization has some religious objection or has a violent nature where murder is so commonplace and accepted that people just never encounter aging, no matter what it is, it must be explained. Or else we may just think you don’t have LEV because of your ignorance about 21st century science.

I must point out that LEV offers an innumerable amount of new stories to be told. I am utterly sick and tired of reading about civilizations without LEV. Even my favorite computer-game trilogy Mass Effect would be ten times better if LEV was in there. It very nearly is in there in the form of two species that live a very long time (Krogan and Asari), but then we can’t explore what the industrious Salarians would do with LEV. The Salarians have very short lives normally, so they act and think fast, though act wisely, and they would keep this fast-paced behavior with LEV, but they would each have centuries more expertise and practice at wise quick action. Now that would be an interesting civilization. Furthermore, the Geth, a civilization of artificial lifeforms, they have LEV, effectively, but we never hear about them from that perspective. Probably because the writers are human beings without LEV, incapable of thinking of thinking about it from an LEV perspective without a prompting (or swift ass kick) such as this post right here.

Even if your story doesn’t use LEV itself as a main story element, its still going to be a huge part of the world. For example, Faster Than Light (FTL) travel is going to be measured in use against slower than light travel (STL). Because not everyone in the civilization can afford to go quickly, because it takes an enormous amount of energy. Whereas some can’t afford to go slowly, because they are psychologically incapable and/or their task has a pressing time schedule. Interestingly there will be an elite group in both groups. The slow travelers will have an elite who go slow because they’re mentally fit for it and because they are wise enough not to waste their accumulated resources just to “drive fast” (if you have a lot of stuff to bring with you it costs more to go fast than if you don’t have a lot of stuff to bring with you). And the other elite will go fast because they’ll be getting a lot for their trouble if they get where they’re going, very quickly. The poorest will be the ones in the middle of the speed at which they travel between solar systems and galaxies. Those who don’t own so much stuff that its very costly to go a little bit quickly, but they don’t get so much in return when they get to their destination that its worth going really fast.

FYI; Any civilization is going to have LEV before they have FTL. So even if they travel around like a Star Trek spaceship at your point in the story, they made the first interstellar colonization efforts with STL travel and patience. That should give you some indication that if you want to write warlike and rash aggressive species into your story, then you need to remember that their aggression and warring behavior is going to have a significant patient agenda and plan behind it. Even if individuals your characters meet, stick out as short-sighted simpletons, the real movers and shakers will by necessity be the ones who had long term plans and patience. Because the ones with less forward-looking plans were murdered and otherwise disposed of as leader material by the ones in power when your story happens. LEV affords “baddies” a whole swath of new ingenious ways to patiently succeed with evil plans.

Space farming. There is just no actual need for an interstellar civilization bring an actual farm into space, nor do farming where they settle. Already now people like Solar Foods are making nutrients artificially. And therefore big space farms and generational ships and such, that’s just dead, that’s stuff for sci-fi works in the past, not sci-fi written today. Interstellar civilizations probably use some amount of space farming to boost morale, but their primary dietary requirements will be met from artificially created nutrients. It should be mentioned that there’s no real reason you would, in an interstellar civilization, be able to distinguish bread made from artificial starch from the “real” thing. Sure we may be able to distinguish between artificial meat and the real thing today, but we’re not even a planetary civilization (we don’t truly control even one planet), an interstellar civilization controls many solar systems. So their artificial nutrient technology will be sufficiently advanced so that the only way to tell is cost of the food (Insert the new cliche scene where someone sells an artificial steak or bread as the real deal, to make it clear to the reader how untrustworthy he is).

Onto another topic. Sci-fi writers tend to assume that evolved behavior will still be present very much in interstellar species. By that I mean that the species innately falls into fallacious arguments and make decisions largely based on cognitive biases. It should be noted that these cognitive biases are largely based around saving calories by making intellectual shortcuts.

An interstellar civilization is going to have something called introspectral magnitude levels (spectre levels for short). Spectre level zero is when you make a decision to the best of your ability. Spectre level one is when you take a look at the brainscan data of your spectre level zero decision, and use that data which perfectly points out every molecular event that led to your decision, to make a new decision to the best of your ability. That decision may be the same as the previous one, but it won’t be based on the same reasons, if that is the case. Spectre level two is when you again take a look at the brainscan data from spectre level one, to make a new decision, and so on and so forth. This is the only reliable way to control the quality of the actions of your deterministic brain.

Right now, most human beings could spend thousands more calories a day on the decisions we make. But we still have tons of cognitive biases, every one of which makes some energy-shortcut in our thinking. The biggest fundamental difference between a primitive civilization and an advanced civilization, will be how much more energy their brain consumes. How much energy the brain allows itself to consume on a decision (before making a stupid one), how much energy the brain allows itself to consume on trying to think of a novel solution (before giving up), how much energy the brain allows itself to consume while discussing with other brains (before punching them in the face). Therefore, in the opening moments of a book I do not want to see a so-called “very advanced civilization”, reach something called terminal conversation value.

I wrote this because I hope to one day read sci-fi where I don’t feel like it was written in the 1800s.

PS: In a hundred billion years or so, travel between galaxies is going to become impractical because of the expansion of the universe. So at least some portion of the civilization you write about, is going to be intent on making preparations for surviving the eventual end of the universe. Maybe none will be mentally fit to exist for that long, but some will certainly give it a good try.

PPS: A brain doesn’t fill up with memories, you just forget memories that the brain hasn’t spent calories maintaining.

PPPS: To make it clear, with LEV you’d literally look 25 years old, not older and older until you sit inside a hollow curved horn on the wall.

PPPPS: There’s no one who would force you to work your current job for 150 billion years, unless you are stupid enough to take up a loan that you thought you’d never have to pay back, “Because I’ll be long dead by the time I have to start payments on this loan”. If that happens then maybe they’ll put you in a suicide-watch type living-arrangement, so that you can not escape your debt when you realize you can’t pay them back faster than interest accumulates.

PPPPPS: If we had a global 1 child per person policy, then we’d stop at 10 billion people, even if we had LEV right away. There’s tons of stories to be written about all the issues surrounding the implications of making a child when that child potentially has to live until the end of the universe.

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Behavior · Philosophy

My Life View.

Last year I published a book which is my non-fiction take on the current “meaning of life” for lack of a better term, for people alive today. Lets abbreviate that term to the word “Life view”, meaning “View on life and existence and what to expect and aim for during ones existence”.

Just a century ago the Life View that was most prevalent, was probably something along the lines of finding a spouse, make a few kids, work hard to make their lives absent from hunger and cold, then die in old age. My oldest ancestor would have been thinking about things in this frame of mind, him having a degree in philosophy and all.

Just half a century ago the Life View that was most prevalent, was probably something along the lines of finding a spouse, make a few kids, work hard to make your kids lives’ easier by accumulating technological devices that make your lives easier. People worked hard because they wanted their children to have an easy life. Not just a life without hunger and cold. Then they expected to die in old age.

Just a couple decades ago the Life View that was and still is most prevalent, is probably something along the lines of finding a spouse, make a few kids, work hard to afford many vacations and rich life experiences. To squeeze as much enjoyment out of life as possible. And then people expect to die in old age.

My life view differs from these. And is based on a few key scientific advancements made in the last decade or two. Specifically in two fields, rejuvenation biotechnology and behavioral psychology. Rejuvenation biotechnology shows that aging consists of real biological processes, processes that can be dealt with. So I do not expect to get old and die. Behavioral psychology shows that we are not born with rational brains, so I do not expect to innately make rational choices. The latter does not initially seem like a good thing in any obvious way, but it has a major impact on my life view.

I put my life view into my book. My life view is in short, that humanity overcomes the processes of aging that leads to diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, etc. Then we use our knowledge of how the brain works (in its irrational ways) to solve all global problems in ways that actually work. Ways that are actually cheap enough to be implemented (We tend to ignore many cheap solutions because our brain responds by enjoying stuff 48% more if we multiply the price by 9). With knowledge of our brain we can find solutions we inherently don’t see. And good solutions we inherently think are bad solutions.

Then as consumerism grows old on Earth, the richest among us liquidates their fortune and buys themselves a space rocket with the equipment to make artificial nutrients and print rejuvenation treatments in bio-printers. They also bring along the best lightweight tools they can afford, to extract resources on the moon, asteroid or dwarf-planet they travel to. Then they use part of their rocket that they arrived with, as trading vessels on computer-piloted trips to exchange resources they themselves gather, with resources others gather. The settlements by the initial wave of previously rich people will be entirely self-sufficient from day one, which affords them the luxury of time, time to accumulate resources. When they have gathered a few hundred kilograms of various elements on lets say Ceres, then they can make larger tools that allow them to extract more resources per day than the light-weight tools they could afford to bring from Earth. And then with more resources they can make bigger tools to work bigger pieces into shapes to make bigger tools. Bigger equipment brings in more resources, more resources allows bigger tools, etc. Eventually they will have built their own interstellar vessels capable of traveling to other solar systems, at slow speeds, because they have nothing but time with rejuvenation. As this happens the money they spent on Earth, was spent building rockets and equipment to bring on the rockets. The money spent on rockets was not spend “out there” as people like to say about space ventures today, as if the money spent on Mars was given away to Martians. This money goes into the hands of the new owners of the companies that built the rockets, and provides jobs for people across the world, and it will be a bigger economic boom than the second world war. Because the demand that spawns when an entire generation of rich people wants to go into space, is on the scale of the demand made when the entire world goes to war. Then the new owners of the spacecraft industry accumulate the resources they need to liquidate their assets and go to space, and then new owners take over, and the new owners can eventually do the same. Each step of the way people across the world have rejuvenation as well, because its cheaper than the cost of pensions and healthcare from getting old and sick. So eventually everyone who wants to go into space, will have done so. Because even on a normal salary its possible to save up by avoiding cognitive biases in ones economic decisions. Thousands upon thousands of years from now. Most of the people alive today will live to see this because of rejuvenation. And with the help of wide-spread knowledge of behavioral psychology, most will eventually be able to make the informed choice of whether or not to take the plunge into space. Then a few hundred million years from now the Earth will become uninhabitable regardless of how well we take care of the place, because the sun will expand towards eventually becoming a red giant. Earth will cook, eventually becoming entirely enveloped by the sun’s atmosphere. Which will cause the Earth to spiral into the core of the sun. By the times that happens the ones who took the plunge into space will have spread to all corners of the galaxy, and they will be focused on gathering resources for the purpose of making larger and larger scientific experiments like the large hadron collider, to learn more about the universe. They will do this because the universe is expanding, in just over a hundred billion years most galaxies will be traveling away at such speeds that we can not travel to them anymore. Nor can we send resources back here if earlier travelers went to those distant galaxies. And that is important, because we need to send resources from the local area of galaxies, to one predetermined time and place, for the final large scientific project. The project that will take what physics we learned until then, to somehow avoid the death of the universe (when galaxies travel away faster than the speed of light and there is no more hydrogen fuel left to produce energy for life to consume to stay alive). Survive the end of the universe either by traveling to another universe, making another universe, or having enough resources to live somewhere in our universe until another universe comes into existence, or perhaps another solution entirely, that we discover as a result of our scientific advancements up until that point. And again, people alive today can live to see that happen. So maybe I expect to work hard to find a different universe, a better one, a universe where my progeny won’t have to suffer the slow death of the universe just a few hundred billion years after it all began. In any case, I find little meaning in adopting the previous life views of humanity given that we are in the precise moment where humanity abolishes death.

Antero Warelius was the first with my name, Warelius, and he was the first to write non-fiction books in the Finnish language. A prize which awards money to writers who do the same, holds his name, and by extension my name. He wrote non-fiction in a language with barely a few million users. So I imagine not many people read his work during his lifetime. I did not do that mistake by writing my book in English. But it appears that the current consciousness of the world population is not thinking about changing their life view anytime soon. So I expect that I have done precisely what my ancestor did, write a book almost no one will read. That appears to be something that runs in the family.

What will run in your family a thousand years from now? The irrational will to inject distilled consumerism into their veins in order to get as many experiences as possible before they die from aging? If not, then maybe you should help out these guys with some money every month. At the very least to save lives that will be saved if we accomplish rejuvenation a day earlier. Even if your irrational brain thinks you can accomplish more survival and procreation by spending those fifty bucks a month on perfume and another car loan, you ought to behave better than you innately feel like behaving, or you screw over your future self. Imagine if you will, if your past self saved money instead of wasting it. Imagine if your past self didn’t smoke, drink and avoid exercise. Imagine if your past self worked harder in school, got a better degree, fixed that car instead of buying a new one. Imagine if your past self invested the money you spent on the lottery every week, in stocks and bonds. Imagine if your past self worked harder, imagine if your past self just bought one bitcoin when it cost 50 cents per bitcoin. Imagine if your past self never spent a penny on a smartphone all this time. Imagine if your past self read more books. Imagine if your past self learned what the aging processes are so you had already donated to SENS and didn’t have to anymore?

Imagine if your past self had changed his/her life view already, so you already knew all this and didn’t have to think about all the effort involved in figuring this stuff out.

Behavior · Biotechnology

Why is there not more private funding for life extending research?

Surely rich people want to live longer healthier lives, no? So why aren’t they tripping over each other to fund research that aims to intervene in the seven aging processes? (Here’s a post which introduces you to how)

I don’t know if you have noticed but money buys a lot of entertainment, the only people with enough time on their hands to become good at any field (physical or mental) are those who:

  • Aren’t so poor they have to work the fields all day.

  • Aren’t so rich they can fill every moment of the day with amazeballs new and unique time-wasters.

So to cut a long story short, most rich people know very little about cutting-edge science, so they haven’t got the faintest idea where to even begin to learn about aging to figure out if its feasible to achieve significant progress towards eternal youth. So in face of this massive Mount Ignorance, they assume aging is natural and that there is nothing anyone can do about it. Then they pray and hope, even expect, that they themselves will be healthy and active until 89 years old and then drop dead suddenly while waterskiing, as “the aging clock strikes twelve“.

In reality though they will suffer gradual failure of their metabolic systems. Most feel like my description of the dying-by-aging process is unsuitable for non-adults however, so I can’t put it in here as vividly as I’d like to. But people would be better off if they could imagine vividly how horrible dying from aging is for most. Instead of having horribly romanticized expectations about it. Then they would find all the motivation in the world to do something about it. It could even give meaning and drive to their lives if they felt like aging was a big bad monster that would slowly slice them into pieces and devour the pieces while they themselves have to watch. But in reality people generally think of death by aging as this friendly Morgan Freeman -character who walks you into the light one night while you are asleep. But throughout human history we never had the power to intervene in aging, so it was perhaps a necessary delusion for the sake of our mental health and survival as a species.

But today, when it is within our grasp to deal with aging once and for all in the next three decades, we should really be painting death-by-aging as the true monster it is. And by “we” I mean scientists, authors, artists, musicians, game-developers, reporters, economists, doctors, everyone who plays some part in keeping the romanticized death-by-aging delusion we concocted for ourselves in our scientific ignorance.

One big part of the problem is that aging happens so gradually that we grow used to its effects, like a frog being slowly cooked alive. But imagine if you as a 21 year old adult fell into a coma only to wake up and experience one day at age 40, then one day at age 50, then one day at 60, then one day at age 70, and then finally one day at age 80 when you die from pneumonia or pulmonary embolism. It would literally be like a big monster called “aging” ate your body, mind, identity, piece by piece.

First the monster eats your beautiful young elastic protective skin. Along with your lean mean attractive physique. Then it takes your muscles and bone mass and coordination, probably even your favorite sport so if you like soccer lets say the monster eats your legs and if you like tennis lets say the monster eats your hands. You gradually have your brain eaten. Only made apparent by the coma scenario, without that scenario you would in a romanticized fashion manage to brush that aside amusingly as “guess I’m getting hold, ha, ha… ha.”. Then at age 70 you lose your bodily functions and you wake up five times a night to take piss that doesn’t happen, and then when you walk in the store to buy some alcohol you piss all over yourself without being able to control it. Alcohol is by now the only past-time you are allowed to have because you aren’t allowed any fun entertainment anymore. Like skydiving or doing cocaine off college breasts. Anything fun is generally off the table by the time you are 70 unless you are obscenely rich, because lets face it if you say you want to do blow off fantastic breasts then everyone around you will just think you’ve become demented and put you in a home.

The final day will be very, very bad. The body doesn’t have an “off” switch for aging to activate to make us go as peacefully as we imagine Morgan Freeman would do if he was God. The reason we don’t have such an off switch is that something might activate it by accident, that is why evolution never made such a switch, and why we never made such a switch on the Mars rovers. So as we approach the moment of death the entire metabolic system starts cascading like a massive armaments factory going up in a fireball. There’s pain, mental anguish, confusion, fear, anger, regret, bodily fluids everywhere even from places that aren’t even bodily orifices, there’s always something you didn’t have time to do, and you didn’t get to see the Game of Thrones final season. Virtually no one has a pleasant cascading systems failure. But we would never make children if we knew their great future suffering, so our parents, great grandparents and great great grandparents, hides this from us in their cascading moments. A final act of parenting, as it were. They probably even hide it from themselves as best they can, clinging on to romanticized views, but mostly they gradually just lose the ability to care about their own fate at the same rate as they lose the ability to mask their suffering from the rest of us.

In the final moments, something crucial for the brain’s oxygen-supply breaks down completely, and they pass out. Then the brain cells starts breaking down unless the brain has already been cooled down substantially. After a few minutes, the person is actually truly dead, in that even if we started everything back up again, the brain would be unable to function as its former self. As far as we know the passing out portion prevents the person experiencing this horror. But this is based on the memory of those who have survived, for example because their brain was cooled down enough before finally passing out (falling through the ice in cold areas causes a steady supply of people who die and get brought back to life with no brain damage, this woman for example). But the thing about memory is that it takes effort and time to actually form memories. So it is not unlikely that during this final end, it is experienced vividly, its just that the process for memorizing the experience isn’t allowed to finish and thus they don’t remember it when brought back. So if we were to put on some anti-romanticize glasses, I’d lean towards the experience of dying being pretty grim.

With current scientific capability in mind, it should be considered highly unethical to paint dying in rosy pastel colors. Stop romanticizing death by aging. And if you can teach someONE about the seven aging processes, do it. And if you can put the seven aging processes on the school curriculum for your nation, do it. And if you can donate to the organisations that work on rejuvenation, do it. And if you can save money to provide treatments for yourself and loved ones that you or they might need before those treatments become cheap, do it.

At this point people always bring up price, “But won’t eternal youth just be a thing for rich people?”. But if you have a look at your nation’s health expenses you can see that getting old costs a LOT of money, and that doesn’t even count the pensions and the lost tax revenue from old people not working. There’s even the tax revenue that is lost because family of old people have to work less to take care of their elderly. So lets talk price; The human genome project cost upwards of 5 billion USD, and took 15 years. Today you can get your genome read for between 1400 and 3500 USD, in a couple hours. Just 13 years after the genome project was completed. So if you are worried about rejuvenation and other biotechnologies being out of your price bracket, you should do everything you can to make this happen sooner rather than later. Because if you or your nation can’t afford it at its initial first release to the market, you better have time to wait for the second wave. And that time will only exist for you if this happens sooner rather than later.

What you can also do is this, when someone suggests to cure parkinson’s, ask if their treatment replaces lost braincells. If it doesn’t, its shit. Because its not rejuvenation, its stalling of the death of the cells or simply some form of masking of the symptoms. And if someone suggests to cure alzheimers, ask if the treatment actually provides enzymes capable of molecular digestion of one of the molecules in the plaque, if it doesn’t, then either it slows the build-up of plaque by a tiny bit, or it just splits the plaque into small pieces that are hard to detect, or it simply masks the symptoms. In other words if some substance in the plaque isn’t physically digested into water and carbon dioxide by the metabolism of the body, like the normal versions of the molecules, then its not rejuvenation. And so on it goes. If the proposed treatments don’t treat the cause, its shit. The only treatments where non-rejuvenation options are still good, is the development of cancer drugs. Because it will buy time for patients to get the actual treatment that removes the hTERT gene and ALT mechanism. In all other aspects, arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, age-related weakening of the immune system, if it doesn’t treat the aging process underneath, its shit. I mention this because I don’t want people simply throwing money at the nearest organisation that studies some aging disease completely unaware that they could more easily reverse the aging process than try to slow the process. As an example, plenty of people are trying as we speak to prevent brain cells from dying, which causes parkinsons, but the different ways in which cells die off are too many to list. So replacing the cells after the fact is a much more feasible solution. It also happens to be a solution you can give to people who already have parkinson’s, otherwise its kind of not a good cure, is it?

Behavior · Biotechnology

Why do we do things we don’t need to do?

There’s no need to do bowling, martial arts, darts, tennis, gardening with inedible plants, rock climbing, hiking, camping, kayaking, river rafting, skydiving, mountain-biking, alpine skiing, snowboarding, swimming, juggling, skateboarding, higher education, chess, reading, dancing, music writing, writing, playing musical instruments, telling jokes, is there?

We do these things because they signify that we are healthy and able to waste calories on things. Understanding and laughing at a joke is a sign that your brain developed properly. And that is also the reason why we are good at detecting when someone is laughing insincerely.

The only reason we don’t do these things way more today in the modern world where we have tens of thousands of calories to waste per day with even middle-income wages, is because our motivation for caloric use is still limited to ancient caloric intake levels.

One day however, we will find a way to tweak this motivation to do needless things. Just ever so slightly towards finding more motivation to “waste” calories on things we previously found little motivation to do. And in doing so we will have exponentially richer lives.

You should read my book you know. It contains more brain droppings such as this.

Philosophy

Is Increasing “Happiness” Ethical?

Lets ask “is the lottery ethical?” first. Normally people will focus on the losers, the millions of people who did not win this round. And then ask “isn’t it unethical to have all these losers, who perhaps could not really afford the lottery tickets?”. But what about the winner? Is it ethical of us to make a lottery with winners in it? Is winning the lottery a “good” event? (Lets just here assume the existence of nine pages of philosophical disclaimers about the word “good”).

One would innately assume that winning the lottery would solve all ones problems, but if we use the assumption that humans evolved over time to develop behavior conducive to and aimed towards reproduction and survival, then money in of itself doesn’t solve your problems. Your innate problem is actually to reproduce sufficiently before infertility sets in. That is what your behavior is aimed towards. Whether or not you are succeeding in this goal is much of the basis of your psychological state. So when you win the lottery, you haven’t achieved any of those goals and motivations you can feel in your bones. When you win the lottery, you only have more money to try to achieve those goals. But don’t forget, the amount isn’t a recurring amount like your paycheck, its a one-off amount. And this may explain why such a huge portion of lottery winners have spent every penny in just a few years. Especially why such a huge portion of those winners that are still fertile, have spent all their money.

So the question is then, if we imagine two separate universes, one in which a person won the lottery, and another where the same person did not win (but also didn’t buy a ticket). In the universe where he won, his psychological state is suddenly given a huge boost because he has a much better chance of attracting a mate than the day before. He buys everything he can to attract a mate, replacing what he owned with “rich people stuff” to make a short-hand term to use. Gradually however, his bank account gets thinner and thinner, and the stuff he bought has huge maintenance and upkeep. Even if he somehow never ends up back to square one, he will still never be as high up as he was just after winning. The question is, will he then be better off psychologically, having never won the lottery, or having won it?

If he never won it, he would associate himself with his normal peers, and compared to them his success in reproduction and survival is whatever it was, but after he won the lottery, those are no longer the peers he associate himself with. After winning the lottery he is a rich person with no money left, psychologically speaking. Not a lucky middle-class person who had an up and a down.

With this in mind, is it ethical as an outside observer and actor to increase someone else’s happiness, if they can’t maintain the upkeep for the system/object of happiness? If I give you a fancy car, one you presumably can’t afford already, it eventually gets old and break down so you sell it for scrap. Are you then better off, than if I never did this? Can you think of any “good deed” where you could argue that indeed, the recipient would be better off? Would a more covert action with less immediate and obvious effect, be more beneficial to the recipient’s well-being? Could it be that good deeds must be covert and subtle to truly be good deeds instead of unethical deeds? At least if we define unethical deeds as being less good than what one could make a deed, by for example making it more subtle, if a subtler deed is less likely to cause a future negative experience for the recipient.

We can’t really get to a proper conclusion in such a short text. But I recently read a discussion between a few other people which discussed whether or not lotteries were ethical to the losers, never even mentioning the winner, and wanted to add an angle to that topic. This is what popped out in an hour. Maybe I’ll revisit it some day to give it its due hours.

Behavior

Polarity of Standard of Living and Standard of Opinion.

It takes enormous amount of deliberate practice to get properly good at chess, basketball, differential equations, memory, juggling, you name it. Ten thousand hours is a good rule of thumb as popularized by the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. Yet, everyone believes their opinions are high quality with very little effort. You wouldn’t dream of trying yourself in a chess tournament to become world champion, as an amateur chess player, but you would gladly put your opinion over the opinion of experts or indeed anyone else.

Furthermore, we like to improve everything we own every time we can bump up our standard of living. We could work a few months a year and just have a low standard of living, and still have better quality of life than 90% of the world’s population, but with lots of free time. Yet people choose to work all year round, to own as much as they possibly can, and to upgrade as often as their economy takes the next step. Houses become bigger houses, old cars become fancy cars. On the other hand, we seem to do the opposite with our opinions. We spend no time or money forming our opinions and spend the rest of the time just doing nothing new with our opinions. We don’t change our opinions or improve them or make them more nuanced or detailed. We rarely if ever throw out an old opinion, unlike what we regularly do with old stuff we just don’t want anymore. We just staple together a macaroni-collage-opinion and staple it to our brain’s refrigerator for the rest of our life. As if that opinion is good enough for ourselves, for the rest of our lives. So everything we ever own is always replaced by something better with clockwork regularity. But somehow we think our opinions don’t need replacing or even just improving from time to time?

And to add to this, when we buy a car or stereo we like to buy the one that was hand-made by elves over a century in some forgotten forest on an island only the noble and wise can find and reach. Built by materials that are rare and difficult to extract. Built using specialized tools which took years to develop. Tested and retested to breaking point, so that when we drop a wrist-watch in the sink we know it will be OK, because it can survive depths to 1000 feet. This is what we want from anything be buy. And we will even upgrade from this to something which is even better. Yet many of our opinions were “built” by a teenager or young adult between the ages of 18 and 25, without an education in the subject of the opinion, in a normal city in a normal nation, using the tools everyone has at their fingertips, in not much more than one afternoon, and never tested. Would you buy a pencil let alone a car that some 22 year old with no relevant education built? Probably not. Yet you trust your own opinions from when you were 22 years old. On subjects you had perhaps an hour of real practice based on a news article. And if you think about it, how good is your opinion if you make one today? Do you have true expertise about immigration, in order to make a proper high quality opinion about it? And lets say by some miracle you do have the expertise, do you truly have the time to form a proper opinion? When a world class chess player has spent over ten thousand hours deliberately practicing chess, it still takes hours to do a match. And if you ask the chess players themselves then they would still truly play a lot better if they had days and weeks and months to deliberate each move within themselves. As opposed to on average well under ten minutes for each move. How long did you truly spend on your last political opinion? Did you maybe spend longer on deciding what car to buy, over the years and years between each purchase, than you did on your last political opinion?

What standard of living and standard of opinion have in common, is that everyone can see when you have done poorly. That is, unless you keep both your standard of living and your opinions to yourself. Until you are truly willing to put your name on it.

Behavior · Philosophy

Do I want, to want, what I want?

We spend vast amounts of time and effort trying to figure what we want in life, but do we ever really think about whether or not we want to want what we want in life?

In this experiment chimpanzees are shown a box. It has two holes, and poking a stick through one of them results in a food treat coming out. However, when they are shown how the box works, the researcher pokes the hole that doesn’t result in food, before poking the hole that does result in food treats. And as a result, when the box is not transparent then the chimpanzees “ape” the researcher’s actions, first poking the hole that is pointless and then the one that gives treats. Either because this is what they were taught, or this is what they mindlessly copied. Anyway, when the box is transparent, then the chimpanzees do not poke the hole that does not result in a treat. Because they can see that there is no point in poking that hole, as it has no connection to the treat-giving mechanism. So if the chimpanzees learned how to do it then the chimpanzees disregard the pointless aspect of what the researcher taught them. If the chimpanzees mindlessly aped the researcher’s behavior, they then change their own behavior in light of parts of their behavior being pointless.

What would happen if you did the same experiment with young human children? They poke the pointless hole in the transparent box as well. Even though they clearly see nothing happens from it, they do it. Here’s how stupid it looks:

Now I want to ask you, does this happen in other aspects of our lives? It really puts into question whether or not I really want that shiny new car, doesn’t it? Because how could I tell if I’m mindlessly aping the behavior of others, who buy shiny cars when they can afford shiny cars? Housing? Smart-phones? Career choice? Clothing? Choice of spouse?

“The experiment shows that children are predisposed to copy, even when what they’re doing is really rather silly” – I wonder if we can come up with real world examples where we can tell as adults, that something we are doing, as adults, is silly like this.

You may scoff at the idea that buying a house that is as nice as what you can afford, may not be the best choice. But maybe you would be better off having more time on your hands because you have to work less, because you have a cheaper house? What about being able to use a cheap old snowmobile more, because you have more money for fuel and have to work less, instead of having a brand spanking new snowmobile? Maybe a bicycle would be better for you than a motorcycle, because you could spend weeks more on holiday if you just got the bicycle instead of the motorbike?

How could we ever know, if we are busy deciding what motorbike would be best value for our money, as opposed to thinking about what would be the best value for our life?

If I make 100 000 USD a year and then decide I want to afford the best possible house, car and swimming pool, for that money, then I could hunt all the internet for the best possible deal on the best possible car in my budget. I could even buy a fixer-upper car and spend a few hundred hours of my time fixing a really good car that is above my budget normally. If I manage to maximize the quality of the stuff I get so that no one could possibly get more value for an annual income of 100 000 USD, then I ask: But what if I would be better off making due with spending 50 000 USD and saving the rest? If I did that for just ten years I could spend over 600 000 USD on the eleventh year because of interest on my savings. heck, I could instead just take a twelve year holiday after the tenth year.

Did any of this cross your mind when you bought your last car? Your last phone subscription plan? Your last house? Your last burger?

Deeper than that, did it cross your mind when you formed your political opinion on immigration? Did it cross your mind when you decided to vote one way instead of another? Did it cross your mind when you DIDN’T read the book I say you should read? Did it cross your mind when you decided not to give money to Sens Research Foundation?

We live in the precise moment in time where there are human clinical trials to treat one of seven aging processes. The aging process in question is the gradual loss of cells, some of which are not replaced naturally. It happens all over the body, in the brain it becomes Parkinson’s Disease and in the heart it becomes heart-disease (arrhythmia and more). The treatment is to replace the lost cells, not to prevent them getting lost (dead) in the first place. Something which is already in clinical trials for Parkinson’s Disease (International Stem Cell Corporation, ISCO). Knowing this, as you do now, maybe, just maybe, the finest wine you can possibly afford, isn’t the best possible thing you can buy after all? Maybe you should save up some money to buy one of these treatments before their price drops so far that they become universally adopted parts of public healthcare programs? Maybe you should help the research happen a bit faster? Maybe you should begin looking to invest in businesses and plans which have a slightly longer time-frame than what you (and everyone else, for now) assume you have available? Speaking of which, if you are a young non-smoker who don’t drive too fast, who live in a safe part of the world, would you like to borrow some money? You only have to pay me back in 80 years, and the 300% annual interest starting the day you get the money doesn’t really matter since you think you won’t live that long anyway.

If you don’t bother reading up on rejuvenation biotechnology then someone else is surely going to, and they’re going to be making offers to you all your life with what they then learned about your future. If you are not careful, you may end up a perpetually indebted slave who has eternal youth and good health to continually service the enormous monthly payments. And if you can’t pay what you owe fast enough, then further fees and interest accumulates, because they know you will always live long enough to keep paying them. Because you will live until they mistakenly let your apartment have shoelaces in it. Will there ever be such a thing as specialized housing for people who may kill themselves to escape debt?

Anyway, grim ending but this is just what I thought to write today.

Behavior · Business · Off Topic

My Min/Max Generation.

I was born 1990, and since the Playstation 1 console arrived on the Norwegian market late 1995 I have played video games almost every day. It has become an obsession to view the first hours of a game as a learning experience. During this period the goal is not to win, not to be entertained, but to learn the mechanics of the game. Which to me is entertainment. Then as my understanding of the game develops I begin with a process called “min/maxing”.

When you min/max something, you maximize the good aspects of something and minimize the bad aspects of something. For instance you maximize gold income in an economic strategy game, while minimizing the time it takes to reach a certain gold income. Or in a skateboarding game like Tony Hawk Pro Skater you maximize the score you get for doing tricks with the time you have available, two minutes. So you minimize the time spent per trick, for one. And minimize the time between each trick, as another point you easily spot to improve. Over time such min/maxing develops a life of its own, because you smash and exceed what you thought possible when you first began playing.

Here are some examples. If you first play a rather simple game to play, like Tony Hawk Pro Skater, then your play style might easily look something like this at first:

Then as you learn to min/max and practice applying hypothetical min/maxing improvements you eventually get to the far end of the extreme min/maxed gameplay like this:

As you may notice he reaches a 251x multiplier limit towards the end, min/maxers developed a patch to remove this feature/bug from the game and then people do really insane stuff (those who have the skill to get above the 251 multiplier early enough for the removed multiplier limit to matter). 200 million points and above isn’t unheard of. Yet 200 million is TEN times more than what the guy manages in this min/maxed gameplay.

So you may think you have min/maxed a lot and be very proud to get 20 million. You’re getting 19 million more than what most casual players get. And then comes another min/maxer and beats you by 180 million points.

Min/maxing has virtually no limit besides physical laws and psychological biases. When you think you are making an efficient system to maximize profit with your business, or to maximize points in a game, someone can always improve on it. And if you know this, YOU can improve upon it. If you just sit down and take the time to find the method to min/max more, you can always min/max more.

However, many biases we have prevent us from min/maxing efficiently.

We are immensely good at finding reasons to NOT min/max. For example because we try to improve something for ten seconds and don’t see how, so we don’t spend an hour or ten days or a month trying again to improve the system. But not only are we rather lazy, we often don’t improve something because we think something “looks right”, “looks optimal”, “looks efficient”. Here’s an example of what “looks optimal/efficient/right”.

The market and bank buildings in the center of these two housing areas reduce the food upkeep and maximize gold income from each housing unit. The range is 14 squares radius including the center square of the 3×3 buildings themselves (the market and bank is both a 3×3 building, the housing is 2×2). You can see that there are roads both directions and someone who is really good at the game would easily think this is a very optimal housing system. However, a truly min/maxed housing area looks like this:

Notice how there are only roads one direction? The houses each only require 2 free squares of space (as road access) so only one side of each house needs to be open. In the first system some housing were on corners with roads going in two directions, so the first system is less efficient, because it can squeeze slightly fewer houses in the same 27×27 area, than the second one which has less road in the 27×27 area. If brought to the extreme on a map where there isn’t trees and other resources blocking the housing area, the effect can be immense.

Now, this is not even the ultimate possible min/maxed housing area. Each obstacle like trees, water and resources block the path of some would-be houses in the 27×27 area. Which changes the optimal housing pattern. But the change is normally going to result in an extremely complex optimal solution which humans can’t figure out on every single unique play-through, because the map is different every single time. So the closest thing they have to min/max is this second system which is very efficient for most maps as long as you don’t screw up the placement too much.

Furthermore, another issue we have with min/maxing is that we are very prone in the real world to doubt how much benefit changes would have. Even when we devise a possible min/max action we could take, we often just linger with the uncertain odds that it will pan out well and then we never test it. Even when we have ample data or expertise or a good mechanical argument for how it will improve things, we often still lets uncertainty make us avoid making the improvement.

And last but not least, we tend to not follow the mechanics closely enough. Min/maxing in a game always comes down to the root mechanics of the game. A game like “They Are Billions” where efficient housing is needed to maximize gold income, you can easily go back to the root mechanics of the game to get some ideas about what changes you could test to try to min/max some more. In the real world however, we tend to never approach the mechanics of a system directly when attempting to make improvements.

If we are attempting to make improvements to a factory production output we may easily attempt to focus on workers that work faster, with better incentives and schemes to facilitate a work-fast eagerness. But then we ignore simple mundane things which would improve things at little to no cost, with little to no extra effort from the workers. Lets list a few common things:

  1. The tool or utensil the workers use a lot isn’t efficiently engineered. For example I work in a fish factory where we dry fish. And about a thousand times a day I have to take out a knife which is just stuck in a random hole on the conveyor-belt machinery which actually isn’t intended to hold a knife. And then I cut off something from the fish which isn’t supposed to be there in the finished product and then I have to stick the knife back in the place it was. There is no easy to hit funnel so that you can stick it in place fast, so you spend that extra second hitting the hole every single time you put the knife back, a thousand times during the day. And if you simply place the knife on the bench next to you then its also not engineered to have a knife, so every time you dump a new load of fish there to be placed on pallets then you have to adjust the knife so it doesn’t fall off the bench. So either way you spend a thousand seconds fiddling with that knife, without it being needed if you just redesign the knife system. A piece of funnel you can bash together yourself from some metal cans, would make it so that the workers can put the knife back in one instant motion every single time a thousand times a day, saving a thousand seconds, or 16 minutes or so. Another knife could be used in addition to that knife, a fastened knife-proxy, could be placed on the bench somewhere so that you can just grab the fish parts and slide it across the mounted knife and place the fish down, without ever having to pick up and put away the knife. PS: Also, there is a random tiny little piece of metal which is threaded through the handle used to hold the fish back, so you turn the handle and then the fish drops onto your pallet. However, to release the locking mechanism you need to give the handle a slight push in the opposite direction, and the tiny pin holding the handle in place is made from a metal which IS NOT INDESTRUCTIBLE. So regular as clockwork the pin in the handle snaps and the handle just turns around wildly without being able to dump the next batch on the pallet. How difficult is it to buy a pin of titanium or something else which doesn’t snap off after a few thousand force cycles? Regular as clockwork, for many many years, they have had to put a new pin in those handles. Always while two people are standing there not able to place fish on pallets because the pin in the handle broke.
  2. The worker’s step by step motions aren’t efficient. Not every fish part I place is placed with the most efficient motion possible because I’m simply not practiced enough yet. And while I try to practice a specific motion by motion method the guy opposite me stacking the other half of the pallet occasionally messes up my method by randomly stacking a fish-head or two on my side when I don’t expect it, so I move my hands towards a spot and then its taken so I move to another spot. Every time that happens that particular fish head took almost fifty percent longer to place than the rest. All because the other guy didn’t simply start the next row instead of placing a fish head where I was going to place the next fish head. It takes a keen eye and mind to spot these types of inefficiencies. Preferably a video and slow-motion scrutiny and a stop-watch. When one person works alone in a task it is rather simple for that person to optimize but as soon as two people work together on a task it takes time to optimize and then if one of them gets reassigned the new guy could be used to an entirely different optimized way. For example, the guy turning the handle on the conveyor so that the next load of fish is dropped on one half of the pallet so that we can stack it on the other half. That guy that turns the handle needs to use both hands for that job, so normally its common that the other guy holds the pallet from sliding out from the conveyor belt, causing some fish to drop between the conveyor and the pallet. Now, some don’t hold the pallet, because they haven’t done this part of the job enough to realize, so every time the guy turns the handle the pallet slides out and threatens to fall off the bench and then they spend five seconds correcting the pallet location. This happens once every minute for the duration of the day. Its also very common to simply try to place down a new empty pallet on the bench slightly faster than skills allow, so instead of the pallet sliding in place perfectly between the hooks which holds it centered, they need to spend a few seconds fiddling with the pallet instead of being instantly able to turn the handle and drop another load of fish on the pallet. So just by going half a second slower, that guy could save several seconds, on every single pallet. Meanwhile I’m frothing at the mouth with min/maxing compulsions trying to imagine how to tell this person this when he doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak his particular eastern-European language. Other things mess up the efficient movement as well, like for example always having to pick up that darned knife which grows gradually more and more blunt until I engage rage mode and just rip the piece off the fish instead of stopping to hone the knife in the middle of manufacturing. The rule is (or rather MY rule is, no official stance on min/maxing from the company itself), don’t stop production unless you yourself is having a heart-attack, so every little thing a factory worker (or any worker) has to do which isn’t specifically a producing action, is wasted action. Every time I have to saw the piece off the fish with five motions instead of one because the knife is dull, at some point I find myself having to stop manufacturing dry fish entirely for a few moments just to sharpen the knife again, because going on with that knife would be even slower. But hopefully I can sharpen the knife while the other guy gets a new pallet or while the conveyor-belt is measuring out another fish load. But normally I can’t do that while that happens. Because the machine has its own rule, it only breaks down when you just spent time sharpening your knives and everything is ready.
  3. The workers aren’t really trained in specifically how to do a job efficiently. And the managers won’t know what’s efficient even if they tried to teach the workers an efficient manner. For example, every time we get particularly large fish heads we can’t put them on the same pallets as the rest, because the drying time is so different that they’d lose money on drying the small stuff as long as the big stuff. So what we do is that we grab one or two very large fish heads, walk six feet to the “big fish head pallet” and then we plonk them on there and walk back. This takes about 20 seconds with two heads, 12 seconds with one head. Now bear in mind that we stack about 1 head per second each, when stacking the heads right on the pallet in front of us instead of the “big head pallet”. I haven’t been able to time it to get an accurate time per head but its about one per second give or take a few fractions. So really, its more efficient if we as the workers just throw the big heads in another plastic bin with ice in it. That way we could periodically have the forklift dump a load of only big fish heads in the conveyor machine. So we would stack only big heads on the pallet right in front of us and carry the pallet with the heads on it for six feet instead of going back and forth with fish heads one by one and losing the concept of mass production entirely. Of course, the conveyor belt we normally use for fish heads can’t give out enough volume if we were to only stack big fish heads, because we’d stack the 9-12 big fish heads that go on a pallet in under half a minute including the transport of the pallet. The conveyor belt only gives a weight of fish heads equivalent to about 4-5 really big fish heads. So we’d stand around waiting for the next lump of fish heads more than we’d be stacking them. But the company does have another conveyor belt capable of supplying workers with sufficient amounts of only huge fish heads. Its just that we seem to have settled on an “apparently efficient” method and then never min/maxed further. Its even worse when it comes to “fish heads with some backbone stuck to it”. Then we have to walk 15 feet or so each way, to put them on their own separate pallet stack, just because they have some backbone with fish-meat on it instead of being cut off right above the gills. The company would make more money if we simply threw them away, because six to eight people stacking normal pallets with normal fish only results in at most 10 or so “specialist head” pallets. And each “specialist head” we have to deal with is about half a pallet worth of normal heads that aren’t stacked and set to dry that day. Because if we simply threw the specialist heads in a random box (to be stacked and dried later) or garbage bin right from where we are standing when stacking fish, then we could dispose of the specialist heads in 1 second each and then stack a normal head per second for 15-20 seconds which normally would have gone to walking with that one specialist head. The “root of the mechanism at work” here is this; Do you want 15-20 normal dry fish heads to sell, or 1 fish head with one extra slice of backbone and meat on it? Obviously if the price of the 15-20 outweighs the 1. Then the answer is very obvious that the min/maxing task is a good thing. Yet guess what we do.

So when we get back on track to the topic, what started as just playing video-games, has become my optimization obsession. And I rather enjoy it, because having done it a lot I’m damn good at it. Its intensely interesting to delve into a system and tease out the mechanisms which governs the aspects you would want to minimize and maximize. Yet I can’t help but think that my generation is the only one where this is so natural that it is viewed as entertainment. My generation takes it as a given that everything you ever do more than once, should be done better the next time. Your next phone, car, living arrangements, spouse, all has to be better than the last time, of course it must! If you paint your house twice it has to be done better the second time because of all that you know now from the first time. And even when you do something and it doesn’t pan out well, its just good entertainment. Your skateboarding character falls on his face, the zombies destroy your town, the spaceship empire you made in Eve Online gets crushed by another empire. To us, that is just good entertainment.

 

I see some wonderful things in the future for my generation. Imagine when rejuvenation biotechnology makes eternal youth a reality and we get centuries to save up for our own spaceships which contain the tools we need to make our own space colony on a dwarf planet, moon or asteroid somewhere. Then the min/maxing generation will quite literally min/max the human colonization of the universe. To discover science with experiments millions of times greater in energy than we could ever do on Earth, to untangle the mechanisms of the universe itself to figure out how to properly min/max our existence in it. And on the way experience some failed intergalactic empires for shits and giggles.

Behavior · Biotechnology · Business · Philosophy · Space

Why I wrote a book for my generation.

Ever since my late teens I wished to find a book which explained what my generation’s view on life is, or should be, given how far human civilization has come. I wished to find a book which let me figure out my place in the world. I wished to find a book which let me figure out how far I should aim, and what I could realistically expect from my life. But instead I found no such singular book.

I found tidbits of relevant information and concepts across the internet. I found no way to find the words to use in the search engines to find the knowledge I didn’t know the name of. I didn’t know there was vital unknown-to-me knowledge out there which would drastically change my expectations for my life. I didn’t know what was important knowledge and what wasn’t, so I was forced to wander the internet aimlessly, scouring through everything I found which appeared to be cutting-edge science. I was “blessed” in a way with a sufficient setback which postponed my plans for my life long enough to discover that there was indeed a few really really important areas of science which were crucial to my future. If I had not gotten that setback, I would have copied my peers actions and had enough money and work to not have time to ever scour a large enough portion of the web to find this crucial information.

As an example; Rejuvenation biotechnology advances since the completion of the human genome project that make it clear that aging will become a thing of the past in this century. Cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia and the rest of the diseases caused by the aging processes will be eradicated. Yet I found that my generation does not know about this. They take their parent’s life view and smoke, drink and eat unhealthily and even spend unhealthily, all in the name of short-term enjoyment. Even though this means they risk being among the last handful of people to die of non-externally caused diseases (infections, parasites, etc), in human history. They spend every dime they make on a lavish standard of living, the best that they can afford, even though this means they may risk dying right before achieving eternal youth in the future. All rejuvenation treatments will drop in price very fast in just a couple decades, so much so that most treatments will be included in socialized healthcare plans because it will be cheaper than the alternative of letting people grow old and sick. The human genome project cost over 5 billion dollars and took 15 years but just 13 years after completion getting your genome read costs between 1300 and 3500 dollars depending on accuracy, and takes a couple hours. That is how fast biotech costs drop because its largely an automated process where only the efficiency of the machines and availability of machines compared to customers decide the price. But if those that can afford it don’t save up money they may risk dying from a disease of aging that will be cured by a treatment that has yet to become sufficiently cheap to become universal. Furthermore, even if they survive without problems without buying a few of their own treatments, they then end up with a youthful healthy body and mind at age 80+, but with no saved up resources. So they must continue working equally hard as they have done so far. As opposed to being able to work less and supplement their expenses with some return on long-term investments. Even minor saved up funds per year adds up to a significant sum in forty odd years. Even a small sum you get some annual interest on will significantly decrease the annual necessary work burden for all those of my generation that have a “job” instead of something so fulfilling that it can be called a “career”.

Yet my generation knows nothing of this future that certain scientific fields are making a reality as we speak.

My generation also knows nothing about how the future will change. They do not know that four decades or so is plenty of time to make yourself financially independent. You could use your current income to become independent in energy, food, housing, standard of living, transportation, but only if you spend the time to make long term plans and start taking the steps to reach those goals. Not many (if any) cars are easily serviceable for centuries. Not many (if any) home appliances will last more than a couple decades at most. Not many (if any) housing solutions available today to the masses can go more than a few years without regular maintenance expenses. Even something as simple as shoes wear out quicker than you realize. So if you want financial freedom in the future you need to find or create a way to provide yourself with footwear  and all other needs independently forever, or at a minimum recurring cost. You would benefit from a certain reliable supply of energy so that you don’t have to pay the electric bill every month for the rest of eternity, and thus work to pay that bill for the rest of eternity. Instead you want to be able to minimize expenses and maximize income so that you can save up.

But why would we want to become financially independent? Why would we want to save up for centuries as opposed to spend it for present-biased enjoyment every day? Because there are a lot more to spend money on than the measly products we surround ourselves with when we say we have accomplished a very high standard of living. At some point in the future, with eternal youth, you will be bored of having worked a thousand different jobs, having owned a thousand different homes and cars, having owned a thousand different versions of every product you own and want to own. But what else is there? Well I suggest space travel.

Those of us with the most wealth will be the first to have bought every product version year after year for centuries until they find it pointless and mundane. They will spend their entire net worth on rather spartan-looking spaceships with a relatively low standard of living not much different than the standard of living on the International Space Station. And inside the spaceship each of them buys for themselves, they will have the rather primitive tools and equipment needed to extract some resources from some dwarf planet, asteroid, moon or comet. So that when they land and extract resources they then send some of that off to others in the same situation with auto-pilot equipped rockets who in return fill it up with the resources the others collected and refined to send back. And over time they will use these resources in 3D printing machines they brought with them and machining equipment made on the spot from resources they collectively harvested from the solar system, to make additions to their spaceship and their base. Small mining equipment eventually gathers enough resources to make larger mining equipment and small tools eventually make larger tools. Larger tools make larger rocket parts, larger solar panels, larger radiation shielding and larger fuel tanks. Engineered organisms skip the Earth process where a series of many organisms convert human waste back into human nutrients, into a one-step process. So instead of having a very heavy farm with you to space, you just bring a small machine which contains some organisms that convert the CO2, H2O and solid waste you put out, into nutrients like sucrose (C12H22O11) and vitamin C (C6H8O6), using solar energy from solar panels that are converted into the one wavelength of light the organisms use most effectively inside that closed machine. Hence eventually making interstellar travel possible without generational ships or flying space farms. And having gathered from other solar systems eventually the spaceships are capable of traveling (at slower than light speed of course) to distant galaxies, because you print the latest rejuvenation treatments in your bioprinters on the way. Radio waves containing the new science from Earth and other spaceships travel at the speed of light, whereas you travel at perhaps not more than 1% the speed of light because you have all the time in the world. Each time a wealthy elite generation uses their money to buy this initial bare-bones spaceship needed to set out on this series of events, the money is spent here on Earth and that results in that people have jobs and new wealthy people arise. Who in return also spend their money like this eventually. Eventually when the Earth is swallowed up by the sun that turns into a red giant a billion or so years from now, there will be no one left here. Humans will spread throughout the galaxy, indeed many other galaxies. And then a portion of them will gather resources and send it all to one pre-determined time and place so that we can use all the science we have learned so far to use our vast amount of gathered resources to survive the end of the universe. Be that by making a new universe, traveling to a new universe, or simply surviving with the resources gathered for as long as possible by traveling close to the speed of light, so that hopefully a new universe arises and we survive that event. Or more probably, we decide to do something else entirely to survive based on scientific experiments that involve trillions of times the energy we can put into physics experiments on Earth today.

Yet, while I now know this is a scientifically feasible outcome for my generation because I studied the rejuvenation biotechnology field, few others study it. Few others even bother to learn about it sufficiently to understand it and understand how it is feasible, even after reading such a text as this. I know my generation will be the one that survives to see aging reversed, but I still know of almost no person in my generation (or even other generations) that know about it. And even fewer that seem to give a damn about it. They press on with the expectation from life that all they can do is maximize enjoyment in their forty adult years of decent health until they spend twenty years in bad health and finally kick the bucket. Even if the odds for my generation making it isn’t 100% for everyone alive today, it rather seems like a monumentally short-sighted, stupid, lazy idea to not bother trying to help the process along. Rejuvenation biotechnology only has to intervene in seven aging processes. One of which being loss of cells, which are reversed by replacing those lost cells with stem-cell treatments. And this is already in human trials to treat Parkinson’s Disease! Another aging process is senescent cells, which are cells that don’t function properly that should be made lost via programmed cell death (apoptosis). That has recently been shown to work in significantly improving health and lowering apparent biological age in mice. Yet apart from stem-cell treatments, rejuvenation biotechnology is probably one of the least funded areas of biomedical science today. And my generation don’t know, don’t care. And my parent’s generation who could really benefit from speeding up the research before they have no hope in hell, don’t know, don’t care. It even seems like people shy away from learning about it even when prompted to by an article or video which suggests they should do it. I mean, if you suffered from a lethal disease and had 25 years to cure it and someone said some area of medical science is trying to use a certain promising approach to cure your disease, would you not then spend at least SOME effort investigating it? Would you not help the effort with a few bucks every month just in case they succeed, even in the event you thought it was unlikely to succeed? To this day none of my own social group has spent a penny helping this research, and it appears they don’t really care to try to influence others to contribute in any way shape or form. I can only imagine young adults are completely incapable of thinking ahead farther than they have a past. Or I could be completely useless at swaying people’s behavior.

I fear my generation will be known as the last generation that died. And the first generation to die from something we could have prevented. I can only feel more depressed that my parent’s generation may be the last generation that let their children die from something that could have been cured in the time available (from the time science knew it was feasible (around 2005 or so that’s when Aubrey de Grey PhD realized it was feasible), until my generation begins dying in droves, is about 40-50 years).

Well, at least you can buy my book. Tomorrow I will go to work loading a few dozen tons of fish on drying racks with no intention of wasting a penny of my hard-earned money. Because I don’t want to be here drying fish when the sun gradually changes and the fish fossils will be dry even where the Atlantic used to be. Good day to you, and if I don’t see you again, good evening, good night and good eternity.

Behavior · Philosophy

The Anti-View Bias.

Maybe this bias exists under another name, but I have to write about this phenomenon because I come across it literally every day.

The Anti-View Bias (AVB) is when someone formulates a statement or opinion, without taking into account the possibility of very obvious other views. Like for instance the anti-view, the opposite view to the one they formulate.

Here is a common view raised in the area of death versus engineered eternal youth:

Accept that life (for the Individual) is Futile, especially once you have satisfied your Biological Imperative to procreate, and raise that spawn to the point where they then will procreate. From Nature’s Viewpoint, once you reach that point you are no longer needed, and excess to requirements, using up valuable resources. From Nature’s Standpoint, we as individuals are there simply to be the cannon fodder in the generational cycle wars.

Here the view is that we should die at some point, and that somehow that is what “nature” wants. But this conveniently completely ignores the anti-view which is that nature could as easily want us to live forever, because half the tree of life has no aging and can reproduce exponentially (1 becomes 2 becomes 4 becomes 8 becomes 16). Whereas only the other half of the tree of life can only reproduce for a time then it dies. So when making such a view on a topic where one could potentially argue both ways as easily, it is very amusing that so many people consistently make one view, blind to its anti-view and every other possible view which could be made.